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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Editorial: Pass/Fail

    Arizona passes on pork

    P

    Spending on earmarks and pork projects is a tradition on Capitol Hill – and the 110th Congress has faithfully observed it. According to The Associated Press, only 18 lawmakers – out of 535 total members – refused to ask for lucrative federal projects in their home states. There is a bright side, however: Arizona pulled in the least pork per capita, a mere $19 in federal earmarks for each resident. That’s a far cry from states like Alaska, whose pork-peddling Sen. Ted Stevens, a former Appropriations Committee chair, netted $506 in federal funds for every Alaskan. Arizona’s small serving is thanks to fiscally responsible politicians like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jeff Flake, neither of whom sponsored pork projects this year. For refusing to play the game of pork-barrel politics, Arizona’s sensible lawmakers deserve a Pass.


    A rose is a rose is a crime?

    F

    For most Americans, Valentine’s Day is a holiday marked by the sudden explosion of flowers, chocolates and sappy cards in drugstores and groceries everywhere. But in Saudi Arabia, the first weeks of February are filled with grand intrigue. There, the strict Wahabbi state’s religious police, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, clamps down on vendors selling Valentine’s gifts, deemed un-Islamic by Saudi religious authorities. This year, they asked florists and shopkeepers to remove all things red prior to Valentine’s celebrations, and sent plainclothes officers on sting operations to ensure any haram holdouts were caught. Unfortunately, there’s one thing officials can’t ban: the market. Many Saudis cross into neighboring nations like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to do Valentine’s shopping, and there’s still a healthy amount of courtship commerce on the black market, where, according to the Saudi Gazette, roses sell for up to six times their normal price in the weeks before Valentine’s and are often delivered in the dead of night. Saudis holiday hatin’ deserves a Fail.


    Freezing folly

    F

    Wednesday, the Arizona House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would immediately freeze hiring and promotion of state employees in an attempt to prevent the state budget’s continuing slide into dangerous deficit. It’s probably an effective – and maybe even a necessary – way to prevent government growth, but the draconian measure could be a big problem for the UA, which, according to the Arizona Daily Star, has more state employees on payroll in southern Arizona than the state government itself. A hiring freeze could prevent the UA from filling important academic positions and prohibiting promotion will only exacerbate the notorious brain drain that plagues the university’s faculty. Halting hiring may be necessary, but Arizona’s public universities ought to be granted at least a partial exception. The House’s budget band-aid gets a Fail.


    Contractors sidestep harassment accountability

    F

    Just when you thought that military contractors in Iraq couldn’t get shadier, they have. The New York Times reported Wednesday on an increase in the number of women reporting assault and harassment by their co-workers in military contracting companies such as Kellog, Brown and Root while in Iraq. While the danger of harassment is bad enough, contractors fall outside the jurisdiction of the military justice system, and the scope of American laws against harassment and assault for workers overseas remains unclear, given Iraq’s status as a foreign war zone. Now that contractors outnumber military personnel in Iraq, prosecution of these and other crimes is yet another difficulty those living and working in Iraq must contend with. For reminding us yet again that you can’t spell “”quagmire”” without “”Iraq,”” KBR and its ilk get a Fail.

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